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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Uhurus weigh in on situation at John Hopkins Middle

9

March

In the wake of discipline problems at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg, the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, better known as the Uhurus, are holding a rally Wednesday and calling for the resignation of a Pinellas County School Board member. Read more here.

In this letter to the St. Petersburg Times, Uhuru President Chimurenga Waller says the situation at Hopkins is "a result of the oppression, verbal attacks, lop sided discipline and plain old colonial treatment by a foreign entity that could care less if African children are educated." Here is Waller's letter as received, in its entirety:

"Subject: 'School Suffers Rising Chaos'

"The Pinellas County School Board and their media arm the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper is at it again. The school board fails African students then has them locked up. The St. Petersburg Times does the racist mop operation. This situation John Hopkins Middle School

"Let me be clear, the contradiction at John Hopkins is not new. It is the continuation of the hostility the school board has always had for African people. After years of racial slurs by white teachers, only one third of the African students graduating with diplomas, and the achievement of African students going down every year they are in the Pinellas County School System, Black people know the roles that both the School board and the St. Petersburg Times plays in our lives. Instead of the Times calling for School Board member Carol Cook to resign for her racist 'hoodlum' comment about Black students, the Times piles on the attack with quotes from disgruntled white folks and a few unclear Black parents. A school can be no more than the people who control it. So if anybody is a hoodlum, it must be Carol Cook, since she is definitely a part of the controlling forces. What is happening at John Hopkins is surely a result of the oppression, verbal attacks, lop sided discipline and plain old colonial treatment by a foreign entity that could care less if African children are educated. When we tried to take the education of African children into our own hands through the creation of the Marcus Garvey Academy, the school board used its racist authority to block that effort. Even after saying Marcus Garvey Academy was one of the best applications they had ever seen, they denied it. Denying at least 45 African children a chance to be educated in a loving, African Centered environment. Now when African students express rage rooted in racial hostility of the school system.

"The school system can not be separated from U.S. society at large, where upwards of 40% of African youth are unemployed in some areas, and police walk free after murdering our people such as Javon Dawson murdered by St. Petersburg police in 2008. Right here in so-called midtown 71% of the community still lives at or below the poverty line. Everything I have mentioned here are the syptoms of colonialism, a condition of existence where African people are under the political, economic, social control of a foreign and alien power.

"From the point of view of the International People's Democartic Uhuru Movement (INPDUM), the Pinellas County School Board is about as foreign an alien a power as African students will ever see.

"Chimurenga Waller, President InPDUM, 1245 18th Avenue South"

UPDATE AT 12:40 P.M.: Waller sent out a corrected press release at 12:25 p.m. and wrote, "Our sincerest Apology to Ms. Carol Cook who was incorrectly identified as making the racist 'hoodlum' statement that was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times. The quote was actually attributed to Janet Clark in the times article."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:52am]

    

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